Clare Traveller Community Development Project celebrates success at launch of Strategic Plan

Clare Traveller Community Development Project celebrates success at launch of Strategic Plan

True community development is about trusting communities to develop their own solutions and pathways.”

The above words were spoken by Minister Joe O’Brien, as the Clare Traveller Community Development Project (CDP) launched their Strategic Plan yesterday. 

At CLDC, we couldn’t agree more, and we are really proud of what the Traveller CDP has accomplished. The launch was a momentous occasion, and a real opportunity to celebrate what has already been achieved, as we look forward to what comes next.

CLDC is the host organisation for the Traveller CDP, and we are also one of the members of the Steering Group that supports them. The Traveller CDP aims to improve living conditions, opportunities and achievement of human rights for Travellers in Clare, and this will be pursued through establishing and strengthening local alliances and, most importantly, through building effective Traveller leadership and a strong Traveller voice. The new Strategic Plan outlines the approach that will be taken by the project over the next three years.

The event was well attended, by people across many organisations and agencies as well as members of the Travelling community. Ciara Griffin, our CLDC coordinator who oversees the Traveller CDP, shared her excitement about the event and everything it represents:

“We [CLDC] have been supporting the hardest-to-reach communities, including Travellers, for many years, and it’s great to see the groundswell of support that was reflected at yesterday’s launch…it’s a really positive indication of progress. It’s not just that the project is in place, but that it’s doing really well! The collaboration between organisations is really strong, the Community Development Project model is really strong, The team behind the project is invested, and the CDP structure provides the support needed to develop Traveller leadership. The level of support coming from the Department is also very positive; they can see and are acknowledging all the work being done on the ground. This is a great example of where collaboration works.”

Minister O’Brien (who is the Minister for Community Development and Charities,) was very supportive of the Traveller CDP, as he spoke about the Strategic Plan and the issues faced by the Travelling community. “Community Development is all about supporting and empowering communities to face current and future challenges, and this is evident in abundance in this plan. I welcome how clear the plan is about the size of the challenge, and the very serious issues facing members of the Travelling community: in housing, living conditions, access to education and employment, the lived everyday experience of discrimination, and unfortunately – the grave reality of the unacceptable levels of mental health issues affecting the Travelling community.”

He added, “I’m very impressed by the obvious level of positive engagement and involvement by members of the Travelling community in the planning process of this strategic plan.”

A key piece highlighted by many voices present, was the importance of this project being Traveller-led. “The capacity of the Traveller community to take this and lead it, is absolutely, totally essential,” said Brian Dillon (left), who consulted on the plan, and outlined the strategy for us.

Bridgie Casey (below), who is the coordinator for the Traveller CDP and a member of the Travelling community, told us, “We’re happy that the community came together, to look at the areas of work that need to be done. The key areas are accommodation, health, education, and culture/identity. So we’re hoping to build that relationship with the agencies, [with our] Traveller leaders.”

Josephine Fogarty, the coordinator of Traveller health services with the HSE who has worked closely with Travellers for many years, echoed sentiments of excitement, along with the importance of both collaboration and Traveller leadership. She said, “Today is a great day for the Traveller community in Clare; it’s something we’ve looked for for quite a number of years now. It’s brilliant to see the Traveller community, the steering group and all the agencies that are supporting the Traveller community in Clare. This CDP will make a difference, and it IS working in partnership with Travellers, and it wants Travellers to be empowered, for them to decide what they want to do to make their lives better in Clare.”

An inspiring voice from the Traveller community came from Anne Marie Quilligan (left), who is a Traveller and a Social Work Master’s Student. She brought palpable appreciation and emotion to the room as she spoke about how she has been impacted by her time with Bridgie Casey (who is one of her mentors,) and these Traveller-led community development efforts. “[Bridgie] made me proud to be a Traveller. I used to question my identity…Bridgie is the reason I’m so proud.”

Anne Marie also spoke passionately about the pathway to change. “We need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Changes are not going to come without difficult conversations.” This was echoed by Brian DIllon, who said, “We have to face up to the fact that this isn’t easy. But I can see that it’s starting in Clare. What I can see happening in Clare, is that the Travellers are now being asked.”

Adding to the discussion around the plan being Traveller-led, our CEO Doirin Graham (right) spoke about what we can do in order to support this. She clearly addressed the responsibility we have as organisations (ourselves and others) that are working collaboratively around Community Development. She described the need for organisations to respond differently than we have in the past: “We have to be willing to change,” she said. “When voices come back and tell us what they need…we have to be willing to be more open, and to ask how we can change to meet those needs.”

The launch was an inspiring and positive blend of celebration, collaborative discussion, and truthful conversations about the challenges that will be faced on the path ahead. It is clear that the Traveller CDP is having an impact, and has been incredibly successful thus far since their inception. The CDP is one of seven pilot community development projects originally funded in 2021 – this has now grown to 10 projects – and the department is optimistic that these projects will be supported well into the future.  (See https://cdpirl.ie/ for more information.)

The Minister finished with words of praise and support for everything that has already been accomplished, and the ongoing impact of the CDP:

“I’d like to commend Clare Traveller CDP, who are in their second year of the programme, for their hard work and commitment to date…The evidence is here, you are making a real difference to the lives of the Travelling communities you have supported since the start of this programme.”

With plenty of sunshine to boot, it was a wonderful morning all around!

Info Evening on Community Energy Supports

Info Evening on Community Energy Supports

Information evening on Community Energy Supports – Wed 7th June, 7.30pm

-Find out about funding and other supports for community energy projects big and small
-Meet your Community Energy Mentor
-Network with other Sustainable Energy Communities (SEC’s) & learn from each other
-Find out how to register your community as an SEC
-Guest speaker: Colm Garvey, Clare Community Energy Agency – project pathways

This networking event at our CLDC Westgate offices, Kilrush Rd (V95 PXY3) is open to any community groups or any individual interested in becoming an SEC and/or applying for funding for a community energy project.

To register for this session or to arrange a consultation, please email Lorraine at lpower@cldc.ie. To register your community as an SEC visit www.seai.ie.

Childcare and Community Hub Manager

Childcare and Community Hub Manager

Clare Local Development Company wish to recruit a Manager for our Cairde Beag community childcare centre and our Glebe House family and community hub, in Kilrush, West Clare.

The Manager will be responsible for the delivery of high-quality care and learning opportunities for Cairde Beag children and for the management of the adjoining Glebe House family and community hub. For Cairde Beag, they will be tasked with the oversight of daily operations, oversight of curriculum, programme planning, ensuring policies and procedures are followed by staff; the support and professional development of staff, reporting and documentation. They will also be responsible for day-to-day budgetary management with the support of CLDC finance staff. The management of Glebe House will involve oversight of the facility and the day-to-day operations/activities taking place.

See attachment below for details.

Contact Iyabo Matthew (imatthew@cldc.ie) for more info!

Childcare Glebe House Manager Advert May 2023

Impacts from LEADER program 2016-2023

Impacts from LEADER program 2016-2023

CLDC rolled out a very successful LEADER program from 2016 – 2023. Have a look at the impact, in numbers!

LEADER is an EU wide rural development programme supporting the growth and development of rural communities and businesses, and protecting the rural environment.

Funded by the EU and the Irish Government, LEADER provides funding, training, guidance to community groups and supports for rural business.

Find out more about LEADER here

Childcare and Community Hub Manager

CLDC is hiring! Employment Service Caseworkers

Mid-West Local Area Employment Service (LAES) – Employment Service Caseworkers

CLDC is establishing a panel of suitably qualified candidates to fill current and future Caseworker vacancies. The Caseworker is part of a multi-disciplinary team providing high quality one-to-one guidance, mediation, advice, job placement and aftercare service to people most distant from the labour market, to enable them to progress to employment. Other progression routes are also explored to upskill job seekers, through education and training opportunities.

Job Description can be downloaded below, or contact imatthew@cldc.ie.

Completed CV and cover letter to be submitted by e-mail to imatthew@cldc.ie.

LAES Job Description